Reuters International

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying sits behind security guards before his policy address at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, China January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

(reuters_tickers)

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong's chief executive said on Wednesday in his annual policy blueprint that the city couldn't become independent or separate from China.

Addressing recent growing calls from activists for Hong Kong to become independent from China, Leung Chun-ying told the city's legislature that "there is no room for independence or any kind of separation" from China.

Leung was delivering his final policy address before he steps down after a five-year tenure leading the financial hub.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" arrangement granting the city a high degree of autonomy.

(Reporting by Venus Wu, Twinnie Siu and Donny Kwok; writing by James Pomfret; Editing by Simo Cameron-Moore)

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